On Applying to Multiple Safety Schools

Safety Schools, Multiple Safety Schools, College Safeties
Students need not apply to multiple safety schools (photo credit: Smartalic34).

College applicants should apply to several safety schools, right? Not if you’re asking us! You see, high school counselors often comprise lists of colleges for their students under banners like: “Reach,” “Target,” and “Safety.” And then they list several colleges under each banner. Maybe seven universities will be listed under “Safety.” And we find that absolutely ridiculous! After all, if these schools truly were safety schools as the school counselor so suggests, then why do students need to apply to so many? It’s a waste of time. It’s a waste of application fees. This time and money could better be spent by focusing on schools that are bigger reaches.

Caroline Duda reports today for US News & World Report in a piece entitled “How to Select the Perfect Safety Schools for College Admissions, “When researching and applying to potential alma maters, high school juniors and seniors are often advised to divide their selections into three categories: safety schools, match schools and reach schools. In this column, we discuss reach schools, but what of safety schools? A safety school is a college or university that a student is likely to receive an acceptance to based on their academic profile. How can high school students confidently select the right fall-back options for them?” Duda then goes on to describe how students can select safety schools. But we didn’t include this advice because we found it to be, well, nonsensical.

And why? We’ll say it again for good measure. If these schools truly are safety schools, then why do students need to apply to so many? It’s nonsense and since the core objective of our college admissions blog is to correct misconceptions about the college admissions process perpetuated by admissions officers, by reporters, by local butchers and mail carriers, well, we figured we’d debunk this myth once and for all.

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